The Rum Punch Diaries: Day 1

My quest started in San Juan.  Rather, it was the airplane’s attempted, and aborted, landing in San Juan that set the rum cogs in motion.  Luckily, I slept through most of the chaos, waking up only when the plane did the steep pull up from the airport.  Yikes!  My guy reassured me that everything was fine.  Yeah, about as fine as the time he lost the map in Italy!

Everything was fine, of course, and although we were a little late and my nerves were somewhat frayed, we got into San Juan and later caught a small plane over to Vieques. The crazy weather did interfere with my usual celebratory drink in the airport.  I just didn’t have it in me.  Calming the nerves is one thing, sloshing booze in my tummy on a little hopper flight in dicey weather was an entirely different story.  I’ve yet to use the barf bag and that wasn’t going to be my inaugural heave ho.

Once we hit Vieques, all bets were off and Thirsty Jane, with my trusty side-kick behind the wheel, began the quest. We headed to Esperanza, the small beach town on the south side of the island.  After cruising the main street, which took about 5 minutes, we settled down at Bili Restaurant.  I ordered a ….. rum punch.  My honey opted for their very excellent sangria.

Bili’s rum punch hit the spot.  The drink was dark and full-bodied thanks to the Jamaican rum which was the base of the drink.  Like most Puerto Rican recipes for rum punch, Bili’s included both dark and light rum.  A Puerto Rican white rum rounded out the booze portion of the drink.  The rest of rum punch is the mixer’s secret combo of fruit juices.  Bili’s bartender simple confessed to using “Puerto Rican fruit punch” which my research at the local grocery store revealed to be pineapple, orange, grapefruit and guava. At least that’s what I think. The result is a rose colored punch which is not overly sweet.  I knew this was a quest worth pursuing even if it proved arduous.

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